Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hooray for Charles Richardson

From yesterday:

Even cancer's good if it stops kids fooling around

Charles Richardson writes:

'A team led by Australian of the year professor Ian Frazer has developed a vaccine against the viruses that cause most cases of cervical cancer.
But [Senator Barnaby] Joyce and others are concerned about using it in case it "would promote teenage promiscuity." According to The Australian, Joyce "said he would be 'personally very circumspect' about giving such a vaccine to girls who were too young to cope with the potential consequences of s*xual activity."

Just think about what that means. These people are saying that teenage girls need to be scared off having s*x by the threat of getting cancer.
Not just that teenage promiscuity is bad – reasonable people can disagree about that – but that it's so bad that cervical cancer is an appropriate punishment for it.

And they have the gall to call themselves "pro-life"?'


When I was at high school, my two best mates and I were referred to by most of the teachers as the Terrible Trio. After we left school we stayed in touch, meeting once a year or more, until the winter that one of these two women was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. Surprisingly it responded to massive (and massively debilitating) radiotherapy, but less than a year later she developed secondary tumours in her lungs and elsewhere.The third friend and I sat with her in the oncology ward every Thursday afternoon for six weeks and reminisced about our school days to take her mind off the evil useless chemo. She died a few weeks after the last of these sessions, at 46, when her kids were 15 and 13.

I wonder how those kids are feeling this week about the suggestion floating around in the public domain that their mother's death was simply her punishment for having been a naughty girl.


Stephan Clark said...

My understanding is that the good senator has been misrepresented and it really looks like the nasty Murdoch press are out to get him.
On the ABC NEWS (radio) he did say that he didn't want sex infromation to be discussed with children without their parents input. Whether you agree with that or not he seemed convincing...I suspect he is nobody's fool and is not going to be bounced by anyone.
Good luck to him

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Unlike Richardson's, my own animus is not mainly directed at Joyce, who every now and then does something I quite like. It's what he's buying into: it's the general ghastly, punitive, ignorant, backward-looking, reactionary drift towards the "Keep them ignorant and preach abstinence [which most of the people who hold this view can't even spell], and if they catch anything and die of it or get pregnant and derail their lives then it serves them right" line of "reasoning" -- which doesn't even work -- that bothers me more. Joyce just happens to be the current vector for it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plug, and especially the headline.
I didn't mean it to be particularly an attack on Joyce, but he was the one quoted in the wire story so it made a good intro. I do think he's often worth listening to, but for that reason it's important that when he says something stupid he gets called on it.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

That's a very good point. I hadn't thought of it like that, but one does want him to shape up and be someone who gets taken seriously.

You're welcome to the headline. As one of the people who has chided Crikey in the past for being more blokey than they need to be, I was really glad to see your piece and its proper emphasis on what the implications were for women of what Joyce was saying. I got a bit cross with the first commenter here because he did the classic patriarchal thing -- ignored or was blind to the real subject of the post, and focused exclusively on the 'important man' element of a post that he obviously thought was all about Barnaby Joyce.